03 March 2008

Call to Service 2008

It’s election season again in the Next American City. All Villages will hold elections for Village Board and CA Board elections will be held in Wilde Lake, Town Center, Hickory Ridge, Harpers Choice, Owen Brown and Oakland Mills. I encourage anyone who wants to contribute to their community to get a nominating petition, have your neighbors sign it, and run for office.

Clearly, each Village will have its own issues; the Village Center in Wilde Lake, Wegmans in nearby Owen Brown and Long Reach, revitalization and the recent departure of businesses in Oakland Mills.

The one issue I hope that does not come up this year is downtown Columbia. For the past few years, some candidates have made a career out of stating that downtown Columbia is the NUMBER ONE issue. I for one have not seen any results from any of these single-issue candidates. Years of service, and very little to show for it.

It seems to me that the downtown Columbia issue is a bit like a scary movie. Initially, there is a lot of buzz and excitement, and you go and see the movie (and it scares the crap out of you). People leave the theater genuinely scared, and some have bad dreams. When the sequel comes out, there is another big circus, and you buy the ticket again. But this time, the movie is not so bad, there are some unexpected moments, and you might even jump out of your seat. By the third time the movie comes around, you realize it is really just a sad guy in a hockey mask. So let’s hope this fear-mongering about downtown will subside this year.

Let’s also hope that this election season will be about issues that can be addressed by the elected boards. Some topics might include those mentioned above and the high number of closed meetings at the CA level, the high CA legal fees, and the inability of the current CA board to get along with each other. Addressing these issues will allow Columbia to be better prepared for future.

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